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Financial Domination And Consensual Blackmail: Why People Get Off On Extortion

Image via Rebecca Knox.

In today’s world, everything can be turned into a kink. As society changes and horizons expand, our taboos do the same. The quaint in-n-out porn of yesteryear just isn’t as potent as it used to be, so we find ourselves searching for new sexual frontiers in an effort to get off. We want higher highs. We want more.

As a personal and professional erotic connoisseur, I’ve made a career out of investigating what excites us and why. I love exploring new avenues for arousal and — even more — sharing my experiences and knowledge with others. However, in all that I have divulged, nothing to date has ever evoked as much disapproval as telling people that I engage in financial domination.

Nothing to date has ever evoked as much disapproval as telling people that I engage in financial domination.

Face-sitting? You’re my hero!

Kicking dudes in the nuts? Okay… I guess.

But using capitalism directly and explicitly as a “sex thing?” Huh?

Financial domination, or “findom,” as we call it in the biz, is a fetish activity where the dominant extracts, extorts, or demands capital in the form of large sums of money or gifts from a consenting submissive partner. For me, it is usually folded into some kind of humiliation, like enacting feelings of powerlessness, fear, and a deep loss of control — but it doesn’t necessarily have to.

Go on Twitter and type in #findom, and you’ll find scores of bratty young women flicking off a camera with thick fans of cash laid out before them. You’ll likely also come across glamor queen @TheOnlyTheodora — who currently touts a devoted 15.5k following — churning out quality clips based around extorting money from her clients. According to Theodora, the reason money is such a powerful way to dominate straight men stems from the fact that “it is often the most tangible form of control.” For every money mistress, findomme, money domme, “cash master”, or “findom”, there’s a male submissive, money slave, pay-pig, human ATM, or cash piggie who can’t wait to pay “tribute.”

For every “findom”, there’s a male submissive, money slave, pay-pig, human ATM, or cash piggie who can’t wait to pay “tribute.”

In my seven years as a dominatrix, I’ve done all sorts of  “cashpoint meets” (AKA where men meet me at a location to literally hand me money). Easiest is the human ATM scenario, where a man either gives me money straight out of his wallet or provides a card for my consistent use. There’s also financial blackmail, where I research real life details in order to threaten and extort money. Psychodrama and the theater always play a major role in my domination practice. Findom just gives it a bold new form.

This past November, for example, I headed to San Francisco for a week-long consensual financial domination scene with one of my longtime clients. Geoffrey, a retired banker, had long been a patron of mine. In Geoffrey’s case, financial domination was his final frontier. A long-time masochist who once got off on extreme punishment and humiliation, he now seeks a deeper kind of loss and a more psychological pain — one that directly affects something he cares about most: money. In addition to the financial domination portion, we agreed to partake in consensual blackmail, where I would procure information through research, intimidation, trickery, coercion, or persuasion.

In fact, this very article is part of the scene; Geoffrey paid generously to keep certain details of his life out of this story.

I prepared a dossier of information before my arrival, in an effort to put his life and livelihood on the brink of total upset. I recorded our private conversations and used the details against him. I laid out a plan to wreak havoc, and explained that he would have to defend his integrity through a series of costly obstacles intentionally put in his path to confuse and bewilder him.

Upon arrival, I asked how his wife was, by name. He knew instantly that I knew more about him than he thought. I had him present a check for my incidentals, which — of course — gave me his bank account information. I threatened leaking information to his family if he didn’t hand over a credit card for my use. A shopping spree was naturally in order. 

But the question remains: why on earth would he agree to do this?

In my opinion, it all stems from the fact that capitalism and masculinity are deeply connected. A straight cis-man’s worth is often tied to the idea of protecting and providing for his wife and family, and money has historically been a source of pride. If he can’t provide, he fears he will be left behind, humiliated, and rejected.

Of course, this is not what we want to reinforce, but by turning these aspects of performative gender roles on their head — while addressing their psychological power and exploiting them through consensual kink — participants can truly  learn more about themselves. In other words, findom says something significant about the society that we live in and the ways that we conflate money and power. That the former is a stand-in for the latter and can be used to elicit feelings of loss and humiliation when at the behest of a powerful woman.

As human beings, we are not unfamiliar with wanting to feel real fear via mediated experience. Haunted houses, escape rooms, scary movies, roller coasters — all are predicated on the “scary” experience being grounded in some kind of safety or trust in the operator, performer, or business. No one actually wants to be killed or trapped or hurled off a carnival ride, but sometimes we do want to feel the very edge of fear’s blade against our neck. Financial domination is like a horror movie or roller coaster —it takes a consenting person’s feelings to a place of fear and loss of control, while still maintaining trust and boundaries.

For now, men are still the financial powerbrokers of the world. But us Findommes? We’re getting ours by exploiting that very dynamic. Time to pay up.

Rebecca Knox is a world-renowned dominatrix based in Pittsburgh, PA offering bespoke sessions there as well as New York, London, Paris, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. She studied with Cleo Dubois and Eve Minax at the Academy of SM Arts in San Francisco in 2014 and participated in the Fetish Queen of the Universe Pageant in 2013. While in LA the last four years, she co-hosted a weekly segment on Vivid Radio/Sirius XM with porn-vet Christy Canyon. Her experiences as a dominatrix have been published in Autre, Sang Bleu, MATH, Flaunt, and Discipline Press alongside interviews with other kinky folks including sexual anthropologist Betony Vernon and Bob Flanagan’s Domme partner-in-crime Sheree Rose. Her website is www.rebeccaknox.com.

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